This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

February 7 -- Feast of Saint Lorenzo Maiorano

Manfredonia's effigy of the Saint
Michael the Archangel first appeared in western Europe around 490.  He pressed Lorenzo Maiorano to consecrate a particular cave on Mount Gargano as a chapel.  He promised protection from the barbarians if Lorenzo would agree, but the local pagans still used the cave as their temple and Lorenzo was eager to get along.  The contemporary story of a runaway bull delivering itself to the cave (self-sacrifice?) and refusing to be drawn out seemed to confirm the spiritual power of the place, especially since the bull's owner tried to shoot an arrow into the cave to drive the beast out, but the arrow came sailing back out past him.  Spooky place full of ancient power, right?

So a couple years passed and Bishop Lorenzo hadn't done much about Michael's chapel.  Odoacer, the self-proclaimed King of Italy, showed up at the gates of Siponto demanding submission and tribute.  The Siponti were hard-pressed to keep him out and suddenly Michael, the commander of the angelic legions, was a popular guy.  Lorenzo negotiated a three-day truce with Odoacer, during which he prayed like a sudden convert.  At the end of three days, the battle resumed, the invaders driven off, and the town saved. 

The same effigy, on parade in Manfredonia
Lorenzo led a procession up the mountain to thank the Archangel, but when they got to the entrance of the cave, their momentum stalled.  It just seemed like a bad idea to claim that ancient polytheistic site for the Christians.  Lorenzo said thanks, went back down the mountain, and wrote to the Pope. 

His Holiness instructed the bishop to fast and pray for three days and then to go into the cave and consecrate it.  As he was praying, the Archangel showed up a third time and said there was no need for consecration as he, Michael, had already dedicated the place.  Back up the mountain they went and into the cave, where Mass was said in the brand new chapel. 

Lorenzo had one more occasion to save the city.  Totila the Ostrogothic King was raiding.  The bishop must have been an old man by then, but he rallied for one more miracle.  He asked for a meeting with Totila so he could make the case for sparing Siponti.  The Ostrogoths sent him an untamable horse and told him to show up on it if he wanted parley.  The Bishop calmed the beast, mounted it, and rode out to meet Totila.  Duly impressed, the Ostrogoths moved on to towns that weren't protected by Michael the Archangel. 

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